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Causes and treatment of stuffy nose on one side

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The nose alternates typically where the air enters, but this is invisible to us when everything is normal. However, when we notice that the nose is blocked on one side, we realize the lack of air and how uncomfortable it is not to breathe well. Trauma, a deviation of the septum, allergy, and even a tumor may be responsible for you noticing that the nose is blocked only on one side.

If you wonder why my nose is blocked on one side and you want to know the causes and what to do in those cases, you will be interested in this article that FastlyHealhas prepared for you.

Nasal septum deviation

The septum is a thin sheet of bone and cartilage that separates the nose into two parts: a right and a left. The deviated nasal septum is not in the midline but is displaced to one side. That side will have less air passage and will feel like you are covering your nose.

A septum deviation can be caused by minor trauma: this may have happened at birth or in childhood. However, as the nose continues to grow into the age of 25, the discomfort may manifest itself during adolescence or even a little later.

Some people may have a significant deviation and still breathe well, while others with a minimal variation already have great difficulties. This feeling that the nose is blocked on one side can be increased in the following situations:

  • Stuffy nose when exercising.
  • Nasal inflammation due to allergies.
  • Nasal inflammation from a cold.
  • Stuffy nose when lying down.


How to unclog the nose? Sometimes you can help keep your nose deflated with:

  • Nasal washes of seawater, water with sea salt, or physiological solution.
  • Nasal spray, but it is advisable not to abuse them so as not to create addiction.
  • Modifying eating habits.

But when this decongesting the nose is not enough, surgery may be necessary to correct the defect.

Nasal swelling

It is also known as rhinitis if it affects only the nose or rhinosinusitis when it affects the paranasal sinuses (it is the most common). It can happen for different reasons:

  • Allergy.
  • Viral infections
  • Bacterial infections.
  • Yeast infections
  • Inhalation of chemicals.
  • Inhalation of drugs.

These and other rare causes cause the mucosa or tissue lining the entire nose and sinuses to inflate. This results in what is known as turbinate hypertrophy. The turbinates are structures that allow the air that passes through the nose to be heated and filtered. When the tissue that covers them is inflamed, it prevents the standard passage of air.


If the inflammation returns, the symptoms also improve. For this to happen, you can use:

  • Nasal washes.
  • Antiallergics.
  • Inhaled corticosteroids.
  • Corticosteroids by mouth.
  • Antibiotics
  • Food changes.

If the inflammation still does not subside, it is possible to resort to burning the inflamed mucosa of the turbinates.

You can consult more information in Inflamed nose inside: causes, treatment, and remedies.

Nasal polyps

One of the reasons that can answer why my nose is blocked on one side is the presence of a polyp. A nasal polyp is a growth of tissue in the nose due to chronic inflammation. It is often associated with allergies and is primarily linked to allergies to aspirin and asthma.

In addition to the feeling of unilateral nasal obstruction, a watery nasal discharge usually appears.


For its treatment and to decongest the nose, the following can be used:

  • Nasal spray with corticosteroids.
  • Antiallergics.
  • Allergy treatment.
  • Surgery.

In these cases, it is also essential to correct bad eating habits such as the consumption of processed, refined, dairy products, among others.

Foreign body in the nose

This is common in young children or adults with cognitive disorders. In addition to the inability to breathe through one side of the nose, there may be:

  • Green or yellowish discharge from the blocked side.
  • Bad smell in the nose.
  • Bleeding in the nose


This cause is an emergency that must be treated immediately due to the possibility that the foreign body has to pass into the bronchi and lungs. The treatment must be done by a professional and remove this foreign body.

Crusting of the nose

The formation of scabs in the nose is a common cause of obstruction, but not always mucus that dries.

These scabs can appear in the following cases:

  • Rhinitis or nasal inflammation.
  • Nasal dryness.
  • Mucosal injuries.
  • Nasal bleeding.
  • After a surgical procedure on the nose.


It is not enough to remove the scabs in these cases because they will form again. It is essential to fix the cause:

  • Treating the allergy.
  • Moisturize the nose by applying a few drops of sesame oil, coconut oil, or vaseline in its absence.
  • Treatment of the bleeding area requires the application of special ointments. Very important in these cases is not to remove the scab since the mucosa is healing underneath. If that scab is removed, another will form, and it will be increasingly difficult to heal.
  • If the problem appears after an intranasal surgery or procedure, it is essential to go to the person who performed said treatment to avoid complications.

Tumor nasal

Abnormal growth in the nose is rare and can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors are the vast majority of cases.

It is essential to consult an ENT specialist if symptoms such as:

  • Unilateral nasal obstruction.
  • Nasal bleeding.
  • Headache or face pain.
  • Chronic nasal secretions.


Treatment of a nasal tumor will depend on the mass’s location, extent, and characteristics. It can range from surgical treatment to radiation therapy.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why is my nose blocked on one side, we recommend that you enter our Ear, Nose, and Throat category.

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